The Queen of Asian Drama is Back with more Irreverent Reviews and Snarky Commentary.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Tokyo Wankei / 東京湾景 / Destiny of Love

A July to September, 2004, Japanese drama that stars Nakamura Toru, Wada Soko, and Nakama Yukie.

Before I say anything else, I have to confess here and now that, just like most guys, (and I'm a girl), I so hate sappy, saccharine sweet hog-wash love stories to death.

Tokyo Wankei
was that and more -so why the five flowers?

There are several reasons, but most of all, because I wish I had thought to write a story of this caliber and nature.

It was a fascinating plot with excellent acting performed by several of my favorite, Asian actors.

Even the theme song, Kimi sae ireba, by Weather Forecast, was a pretty tune I don't mind hearing over and over in my head.

It's the story of a young Korean woman living in Japan - Zainichi Korean - who runs into a young Japanese man while wearing a lovely Hanbok that helps to captivate him even more than her natural beauty does.

They fall in love, but her father doesn't approve and thus begins their ill-fated romance.

She runs away from home, to a place in the country where a river flows beneath a bridge, and she waits for him there.

Alas, he's struck down by falling timbers in an attempt to save a little boy from the same, painful fate.

She's devastated and blames herself, thinking that if she had not asked him to meet her that day, that he would still be alive.

Present-day and we have her daughter, Kimoto Mika / Kim Yuri, who is just as beautiful as the now-departed mother, and who works at a publishers office and personally struggles with the same self-doubt as her mother once had about being a Zainichi third-generation.

she reminds me of Shu Qi in a way - so beautiful

She's late to a Christmas party after having to attend her cousins engagement party, so she hurries along in a magnificent, pink Hanbok and guess what she does?

That's right - she runs smack into the arms of her destiny, just like her mama had done 30 years earlier.

Or, was it 20 ?

Maybe it has something to do with the continuity thing again, I don't know, but several of the dramas or movies I've watched tend to distort time without a care.

It said 1980, and then 2004 - or, was it 2006?

I'm not sure anymore, because I got all confused and then I said fack it, I don't even care anymore what's going on with the time and age discrepancies and such important things as that.

I know it said 1980, and yet her passport said she was born in 1979, so that's when I decided to let go of the time line thingy and concentrate, instead, on the story.

(maybe it's the Asian theory that you are born at conception, not live birth? she was conceived in '79 and born in '80? - argh)

See, the other thing that baffles me about these shows and their lack of continuity is that they make the adults look 20 or even 30 years older than they should, while the present-day hero or heroine appear remarkable well preserved, and that makes no sense to someone like me.

If she was born in '79 and the present-day is '04, wouldn't that make her, like, 25 years old, yea?
So, why is her father - HIS father especially, - made to look like they have one foot in the grave?

Do the men over there wait until they're 50 to get married to a woman in her 20's, is that it?
20 years is hardly enough time to make a robust, young man turn into a withered, shuffling old grandpa, am I right?

Maybe life over there is that, much harder or something?

I am under the misguided assumption that the food, air quality, and even the water are said to have preservative qualities we Americans still strive for?

Baffled - and I digress -

Mika-san is a show-stopping beauty who haphazardly lets her little sister sign her up for some online dating service, and when the questionnaire arrives on her cell phone, she blows off a majority of the questions with 'don't care' responses until she comes to one question in particular

- "What are you looking for?"

(or something like that, since the translator failed to tell us what a majority of the written things in the drama said - I had to take a wild guess using my sorely lacking Kanji skills).

Anyway, she says she likes Tokyo Wankei (the sight) and asks the question,
"Can you find the real me?"

(Isn't that a Who song?)

Anyway, you won't believe who her only, qualified match turns out to be.

Again, I digress, and I hate to give away too much of the plot for those of you who have yet to watch - so, let me jump around like the drama did, ok?

Toru Nakamura (Kamiya Fumi) is a big-shot at the NEXUS or PEN publishing company where Mika works, and he finds this diary written by her omanee or okaasan, and he says his mother had it for years, he just found it, read it, and wants Mika to write a romance novel around the contents.

He's so hot.

Mika turns down the offer, so she hands the assignment over to her co-worker, Hayase Yoshio (Sato Ryuta), who I think has a crush on Mika, but there was a time in the show when he talked about his girlfriend, and then he ended up with Mari, so again, I'm not, really sure about that part of the story.

Did I say I wished I had written this thing?
Maybe I still can, only better and with more CONTINUITY, eh?
Just kidding - on with the synopsis of sorts -

Meanwhile, Mika gets in touch with her only match through the online dating service, and she invites him to meet her at the airport terminal (because it's open and filled with people).
She wearing a really neat orange jacket (she wore white a majority of the time), and she leans against a pole, closes her eyes, and counts down from 10 to the strike of 4 o'clock, when the dude is supposed to arrive - finding her sight unseen as she had insisted.

At precisely 4 o'clock, she opens her eyes, purses her lips and begins to leave when a banner unfurls that says, "I've found you."
Gasping in shock, she looks up toward the third level and sees no one, and then a second banner unfurls, stating that if she doesn't hurry up, he'll reveal her email address.
Seeing the third, unfurled banner, Mika freaks out and runs up the escalators, anxious to stop the mad-man from going through with his threat.

When she gets there, she meets Wada Ryosuke-san (Wada Soko), and as he says he's done it, that he's found her, the third banner unfurls, causing Mika to panic and nearly fling herself over the glass railing - but then she notices that the banner has nothing written on it.

Ryosuke is a 'blue-collar' guy who drives a hi-lo by day and teaches calligraphy as a hobby.
It just, so happens that Mika's boss has asked her to find stories about the 'forgotten' Japan, people like Ryosuke-san who have real hobbies and do old-fashioned things like knit, spin yarn, and write calligraphy.

What a freakin' coincidence, eh?

Honestly, I can't say any more about this drama because I really don't want to spoil it for anyone, and I know I sound smart-ass, but it's entirely unintentional, I assure you.

Tokyo Wankei was a wonderful drama, and I highly recommend it to those of you who haven't watched it yet.

Mika's childhood friend and fellow Zainichi, Inoue Koichi/Park Hong-il (Nakamura Shunsuke)

I honestly thought this guy was a Korean for real and was stunned to discover he's actually Japanese.
That would likely explain his perfect speech and amazingly accurate dialect, eh?
Isn't he pretty?

1 comment:

  1. Ryosuke's father supposedly dies in the accident as Yuri was told, hence the reason he was puzzled why her portrait was painted and dated 1980 years after her death.
    1975 (or months prior) - Kensuke & Yuri met, fell in love and dated.
    1975 - Kensuke supposedly died.
    1978 or early 1979 - 3 years after Kensuke's death, Yuri married Massao
    1979 - Mika was born.

    The time line math worked. Kensuke / Yuri relationship was 30 years prior and Mika is 25 years old.


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